English 456: C20 Criticism and Theory

Questions on Fanon's The Wretched of the Earth (1960)

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"The Pitfalls of National Consciousness"

1. What should a native "authentic national middle class" (1579) do after the colony in which its members live gains its independence? But what tends to happen instead, and why?

2. Characterize the stagnation and decadence that, according to Fanon, play themselves out in post-colonial regimes at the hands of the national bourgeoisie. See 1579-81, including the remarks about Latin America.

3. How, according to Fanon on 1583, does colonialist power affect the economy of nations it colonizes? How do the factors enumerated make abstract ideas about unity and "national fronts" futile?

4. How do the former colonial powers step in and exploit reactionary religious and racial tendencies for their own benefit? See 1582-85.

5. How, according to Fanon, may a former colony avoid or overcome the post-colonial corruption and decadence he has been describing? See 1586-87.

from chapter entitled "On National Culture":
"Reciprocal Bases of National Culture and the Fight for Freedom"

1. How, according to Fanon on 1587-88, does colonial domination disrupt national culture, and on what unproductive paths does such disruption lead colonized artists and intellectuals?

2. What drives native people more and more to "organized revolt" (1588), and what effects do the tensions that surface have upon the natives' culture? How do such tensions affect the various kinds of artistic production and artisanship? How do they affect literary genres? See 1588-90.

3. What becomes necessary, according to Fanon on 1591, as the national consciousness of a colonized people matures? Why is it a mistake to "give new values to native culture within the framework of colonial domination?"

4. What is the relationship between the struggle for national sovereignty and a people's culture? See 1591-93.

5. How, according to Fanon on 1592-93, is nationalist struggle and the cultural production associated with it at the same time internationalist and universalizing?

Edition: The Norton Anthology of Theory and Criticism. Ed. Vincent B. Leitch. New York: Norton, 2001. ISBN: 0393974294.